“It is no secret nowadays, particularly to women, that many American males, even those of middle-aged appearance, wearing suits and holding down jobs, are in fact, incredible as it sounds, still small boys inside. Flange is this sort of character, although when I wrote this story I thought he was pretty cool. He wants children — why isn’t made clear — but not at the price of developing any real life shared with an adult woman.”
—from Thomas Pynchon’s “Introduction” to Slow Learner: Early Stories (1984)
(1.) “My mom said you should get your address tattooed there, in case you’re too drunk to come home!” the cousin I grew up with — itself, already a questionable concept — told me when, at age 30, he had a “riff” on his last name tattooed on his back (“My friends call me that,” he said — news to me!).
This is one Christmas home when: (1.) I should have run screaming from the room, never to return; (2.) I should have silently noted the need for same, and, subtely, slipped out & similarly, never returned; or (3.) I got another “chink” in my armour — not irreparable, but, hey, these things add up, right?
“In America there’s a narcissism about choosing a mate. I see it in so many relationships when they edge past that three-or-four-year mark. The façade begins to crack, and you begin to realize that the person your spouse has presented themselves as is entirely different, and they may have lost the passion and impetus to put on that façade.”
—David Fincher, discussing his film Gone Girl in the Oct. 2014 Sight & Sound
(2.) At age 63, my father — again, the one I grew up with — gets kicked out of the house in the new school district his income made possible when I was in grade 3, resulting in two (2) more self-humiliations: using his $70K+ annual pension (retired a year-and-a-half early from Albany County, don’tcha know) to, incongruously, move in with his 80-something aunt (and proceed to drive her nuts) and buy a house in Florida (along with that year’s Cadillac) — across the street from his 80-something aunt & uncle, the latter of whom is often out with his boat, the former of whom he drives relatively nuts (no pun intended), but at least isn’t stuck in the house with him.
My Aunt Jeanne, though … “Yes, sire, yes, sire,” she mocked one time I visited, one of the few times she came out of her room — clearly a picture of something.
(She died of heart failure, having gotten a two-week trip to Ireland out of it — her nephew’s not Irish enough to go by himself, and he’s just so needy! Well, good for her.
“It is dreadful when people will not even have the decency to quarrel.”
—George Orwell, in his novel Burmese Days (1934)
(3.) “Why don’t you hit her?” I asked “big boy,” so “big girl” could hear — a comment that got repeated, behind my back, ad infinitum, for years on end, like a confirmed suspicion — lest there be any doubt that it wouldn’t’ve: (1.) ended things; (2.) been my position to say; and (3.) ever happened!
How bad could it get? Bad enough you throw in the towel as “ref.”
“I don’t love your father. I’ve never loved him, really!”
“What the fuck? Why would you tell that to me? Go fuckin’ tell it to someone else!”
(4.) Screaming “Get the fuck AWAY from me!” makes someone fly down the steps at a cabin in Cape Cod.
Yes, it’s true.
Withdrawing for a week — which felt, oddly, like a hunger strike — and sitting there in silence (after the first day, which was enough), in a stubborn-sort-of-refusal to “B.F.F.” my pathetic-three “Fam” erupted in a next-to-last day of a hypocritical, condescending, oblivious entreaty: “You have to fight this … ”
Fuck you, “Mom.” Hello, officers. Yes, I guess I’ll be going to the Psych Ward, now, and missing another two fucking weeks of work …
(Things happen fast. People “believe” things. You do the math!)